Wait... What Time Is It?

Ten thirty already?  Sheesh.  You get what you get, tonight.

Goal: 5k words.

Achieved: 2300 words.  (Well, actually, 3000, but the first 700 don't count.)

“Jens.”  Adem motioned for his aide, who placed his firing rod in the brazier and trotted over.  “Find Magi Dell.  He should be with the commander.  Let him know that the gate closing will happen immediately, and he should attend.”  Jens saluted, and trotted off towards the main entry to the courtyard.

“First Mate Orelley - fall out, but remain with me.”  At those words, Kellan sighed and relaxed slightly.  He turned to face the gate, peering into it along with the centurion.

“Ah, there we go,” he said after a moment.  “I can hear them.”

Adem cocked his head, listening.  There was a distant sound from the gate, almost imperceptible.  As it grew, he could make out the tune of a Legion cadence.  The words, though, eluded him, until he was able to make out a group of figures stumbling through the heat shimmer of the gate.

Adem frowned slightly.  “That is not a cadence I recognize, First,” he commented.  “Was that something about a hedgehog?”

Kellan grimaced.  “Yes, sir.  That would be the Twins.  Principes Daleb and Kosheb.”  He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.  “About three days ago, we ran into a small shedeem hunting part in the Far Lands.  They were friendly enough, but claimed that we had disrupted their hunt with our, um, ‘foul stench’, and issued a challenge.  I think they were hoping we would back down and pay a ransom.  The Captain took the challenge, and the Twins went up against their hunt leader in a, um.  Contest.”  He sighed.  “A drinking contest.”

Adem blinked.  “Seriously?  First, you are not pulling my leg?”

Kellan grinned.  “We cheated, of course.  They expect it, after all - it’s the only way they get a good contest.  Plus, the Captain always has a trick or two up his sleeve.  Stuffed the Twins to the gills with something foul that soaked up most of the alcohol.  Even with that, two on one, it was a close thing.”  He sighed.  “As soon as the hunt leader passed out, we left in a hurry.  So sorry, got to be off.  They were impressed enough that they let us go without protesting.”

“Of course,” he added thoughtfully, “most of them were already so drunk they couldn’t stand, so it wasn’t much of a daring escape.”

“Those two are going to be hurting once they get through the gate and all that arukh drink hits them at once,” Adem pointed out.  “Should we send for a physician?”

Kellan waved his hand.  “No, no.  Bear checked ‘em out, said they’ll be fine.  Though with any luck, they’ll just pass out once they get here.  It looks like Bear is herding them in the right direction, at least.”

They could make out five figures approaching through the gate now.  Two were out in front, dressed as Kellan in Legion leathers.  They were staggering and singing at the top of their lungs, obviously trying to march together, and just as obviously failing.  Behind them came a mountain of a man, carrying an oversized scutum.  His dark skin was topped by a shock of white hair and a disapproving fown.  As they marched, he used his shield to prod the two in front of him, or corral them so that they continued to move in a straight line.

Just behind him were two more.  A short, broad fellow with red hair and a red beard trimmed close walked slowly.  Unlike the others, he was wearing a denim shirt and pants, with a scout’s vest as an overgarment.  The final man was slightly taller, and carried the only weapon that Adem could see, a short bow slung over his shoulder.  He was leaning on the redhead, limping slightly.

Kellan muttered something under his breath, and turned to Adem.  “My apologies, sir.  A physician might be called for.  Valish twisted his ankle yesterday.  Nothing serious, but once they’re through, I know the Captain will want it seen to.”

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